Category Archives: Great Day

My 5th…

Photo © T.Nikic 2014

Photo © T.Nikic 2014

On the 15th of August 2009, I followed through with a decision I had made which had ended a reality, that for me, I did not fully understand how it came to be. I mean I had understood that the choices I had made actually contributed to it, but it seemed like something you’d see in a movie or a music video or something not real life, and definitely not MY life….

On that day, five years ago, I had moved out from the apartment I had shared with my ex boyfriend. It was a space I had tried to make into a home, but I was sharing it with someone who did not understand what that means, and I’m not sure he quite experienced HOME, in the full sense of the word, himself. This person, who I had spent two and a half years of my life with up until that day I moved out five years ago (the last 11 months of which we shared that space together), contributed to the misery and terror of the energy that space carried. I did not know what a mature, mindful, nurturing, adult relationship should look like, nor did he. My perception and understanding of love was absolutely skewed and his was very superficial. But I had wanted a home outside of what my parents had provided at that time (no it was not bad, I was simply ready to leave) and I had chosen him because….because I was young, and stubborn, and felt like I had something to prove to somebody, and because I was in my mid 20s which meant I should be in a stable relationship and think about marriage and kids and a house….but also because I was stuck on all of those ‘wants’ and I just went with the guy who seemed to have been really into me.

I had ignored all the signs which said “this guy is lost and hurt, and he will hurt you”. I ignored the proof that the universe was sending my way to warn me that this guy is not a person of heart, integrity, honesty or truth. (But who am I kidding – back then, neither was I – I was lying to my Self the entire time.) I ignored those signs because I wanted what I wanted and that was that. I don’t need to tell you the details of that situation for you to truly relate to it, do I? You’ve been there too. We all get there at some point. And then something happens and we snap our Self back to reality. I awakened to the reality of my life not long before the day I had moved out. As soon as you know better, you start to do better. My ‘better’ at that time, was to leave, which was the right thing to do. But I didn’t bargain on all the Self work that I had to do since then.

 

I’ve not been in a serious relationship after that one. It has taken me five years of soul-searching, of getting to my truth, of growth, of learning, of dealing with my past (and unexpectedly with other issues I was not aware of), to become a human being I am proud of. I love me. I respect me. I honour my soul, my spirit, my heart, my mind, but most importantly, I have learned to not just listen to my intuition but to follow it and allow it to guide me. Yes, it took me five years to do all of that. It takes a long time to return to your Self after you lose yourSelf and allow someone to break you down. It’s not about anyone else’s journey or experience that we have to live out, but our own.

 

My return back to self involved many incredible travel experiences (including India, a solo trip to Europe and a few other destinations), great books by human beings who have also gone through turmoil in their life (Maya Angelou, Paulo Coelho, Brenda Shoshanna, David Richo, Bell Hooks, Rumi, Sonia Sanchez, Pablo Neruda, just to name a few), teachers and lessons who came in forms of strangers and friends sometimes, a great counselor who provided therapy that was right for me, and as part of my human experience, I also made some bad decisions from which I had chosen to learn from.  The biggest returns to my Self involved starting this blog and sharing my love journey with the world (so to speak) through writing and poetry, my engagement in the poetry community via performances, and my rediscovery for my love of arts, being creative and painting. I really spent time with me, getting to know me, facing the mirror and stepping up to the ownership of MY being.

 

Solitude is necessary for getting to know one’s Self after going through any experience where one has lost their Self. Read again: Solitude is necessary for getting to know one’s Self after going through any experience where one has lost their Self. Just once more: Solitude is necessary for getting to know one’s Self after going through any experience where one has lost their Self. I’m not saying withdraw from the world and become a monk (although for some, that is what they feel they have to do), but really spend quality time with YOU without any stimulants or distractions. Yes, it can be painful and hard, but YOU are worth your journey back to YOUR SELF. And let’s face it – it is YOUR work to be completed by YOU.

 

As much as solitude is necessary, we have to be mindful of the fact that we are our relationships. Translation: the circle of people around me changed as I got back to me. And that was perfectly okay. Sometimes, we outgrow people, sometimes they remove themselves from our life, and at other times, we remove our Self from their life. So long as I engaged with others always with the intention of learning something from that interaction, the ‘goodbye’ wasn’t sad, and was often simply organic and necessary. Letting go of what no longer makes sense, is part of our return to self, too. That may include some friendships and relationships.

 

The greatest thing that I can say, has happened during these last five years for me, is the understanding that the essence of our spirit, is love. My return to love truly allowed my soul to soar and reach incredible heights. I am so glad that I didn’t give up on my Self, and as tough as I have been on me, I really like and love, me. And that was the point of all of this.

 

 

Much thanks to every soul who was a part of my journey thus far. I love you.

Fly, love!

T

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EXIT

I’ve been practicing Bikram hot yoga (at Bikram Hot Yoga Center ) since September 2009. Not consistently or as frequently as I’d have liked to, but nevertheless, I feel that it has been challenging, engaging and beneficial enough to my body, spirit and overall well-being, that I’ve attended the 90-minute classes (held in a  40 degree Celsius room of about 40 percent humidity), for almost five years. And it’s no small feat to captivate my interest for that long – I LOVE being challenged and this yoga practice is very challenging.

 

I receive the BYC email newsletter and in the most recent one, I saw that two intermediate classes with music were added to the schedule. With music, captivated me. In fact, when I went to practice a few days ago, I asked a teacher if I’d be eligible to take it, and when he said yes, I immediately made the commitment to my Self, and to him, to attend.

 

Today, was the very first class offered at an intermediate level with music at BYC. Was I excited? Yes. Was I nervous? Yes. Was I scared? Absolutely! Even after all those Bikram yoga classes I’ve attended, I still did not feel as if I could always get into the deepest expressions of some of the postures nor have I ever done a head stand. But I stuck to with music and that helped me calm my nerves down…a little bit.

 

Unlike regular Bikram yoga classes, this one did not have verbal instruction, but we all were to move in unison with our instructor. It was simply incredible to practice yoga in synergy and with music which included Hindu chants, prayers and songs of Shri, Krishna Das, as well as the music of the band Stars, Leonard Cohen, Eva Cassidy and Dan Gibson! The absence of verbal instruction and correction from the teacher made me feel more accountable to my own Self awareness – body, posture and position, as well as mind/thought and feeling. The few new postures which are a part of this class were challenging but surprisingly enough, I was able to do most of them…except for the head stand. I mean I did try to set it up, and even though it was something I’ve always wanted to be able to do, it was just too scary for me to do it on my own, for the first time, in this class.

The group of us who attended the class, were told at the very beginning to bring our mats in towards our instructor, as we were meant to be much closer together than in a regular class. Somehow my yoga mat ended up directly in front of the EXIT sign and door. After the standing series, I was faced with that EXIT sign every time I laid down for the Shavasana. I started thinking about the word itself. EXIT goes with escape, with letting go, with some form of freedom. And I realized that I did not allow my Self to EXIT my own thoughts which made me apprehensive about doing or attempting something new, something different, something scary. Although there were other things in my life this applied to, in this case, that was a head stand. Well, remember how I told you that I love challenges? I asked for some help and this is what happened:

I did it!

I did it! (Source BYC Instagram page)

I realize how powerful our thoughts are – they can help us face our fears or nurture them. I chose to literally EXIT the realm of CAN’T, with music, and some help. Like the mural at the BYC studio states: “Be afraid not of growing slowly, Be only afraid of standing still.”

 

Love,
T


Soul Dance

Photo © T. Nikic

Photo © T. Nikic 

*This is a true story.*

In an ‘authentic’ Thai restaurant

On Bloor street,

One day, my friend and I

were eating.

We were sharing stories

about love and relationships,

and our current hardships with/in IT.

It was then that I first heard:

“Your souls danced together!”

spoken back to me

in response to the situation I had been describing.

And it made me think about LOVE, differently.

I recalled my past experiences

and how devastated or sad I was

when some of them ended;

and I realized that it was due to the fact that

I had associated that person

OR that relationship

with a hope, or a dream,

or a future which

I had only imagined for my Self,

while not really present in each moment of that relationship,

nor truly in tune with the person whom I was in IT with.

And then I had met HIM.

I knew he was the love of my life

about three weeks in…

of course that was also about the same time

I realized that WE were not going to BE in IT –

a relationship.

In any case,

I do not wish to glorify

the tragedies which seem to follow

MY “love” LIFE

but to tell you about my

SOUL EXPERIENCE,

with the love of my life.

It happened in steps,

gradually,

but all of a sudden and all-encompassing, it seems.

We spoke for hours at a time,

always looking into each others’ eyes.

And that was important –

to always look into each others’ eyes –

because they are the doorway

through which souls are able to greet each other.

Then, there was the soul baring nakedness –

this is not a physical thing,

but a spiritual connected-ness of Self

which was proudly and gladly shared

with the other.

It is the sharing of one’s limitlessness

with the other.

During that soul baring nakedness,

each soul bares its truth via

words, energy, tears, laughter, their gaze…

whichever way is most appropriate

for that soul’s story to be told.

And the soul who is receptive of the other soul’s story,

is embracing it and experiencing it

in a non-judgmental way.

The receptive soul may even shed tears,

or engage in laughter or

neutralize or intensify the energy

of whatever the naked soul is sharing.

(Side note: both souls are spiritually naked during this soul baring nakedness.)

It is an experience of elevation,

vibrations and souls

and life and being.

It is, in certain moments,

indescribable,

but only because the souls immerse and engage completely

in the dance with one another,

thereby leaving no real memory of IT,

the soul dance,

just the knowledge that the experience

DID, in fact, actually happen.

The souls who are able to dance with one another,

also serve as mirrors to each other,

of the conditions of the other’s soul,

of the energies their soul carries,

of the work that the Self needs to do

in order to stay true to,

and enable,

the flight of their own soul.

See, souls don’t belong to the Self,

but the Self ‘belongs’ to the soul.

The EGO twists the Self

into thinking that one can achieve control

of whatever pain or demons

are embedded in one’s memory,

and the ego is what coaxes Self

into holding on to that memory –

for if the Self holds on to those things

which have once ‘hurt’ it,

those past experiences will

continue to impress the “damage”

upon the Self;

and the Self will try to unload it

onto the soul,

but the soul does not hold on

to such memories –

the soul is only capable of

recognizing and exchanging ENERGIES.

And this is how the souls which choose to

dance with one another

act as a mirror –

they disassociate the Self from the experience,

so the ego cannot tarnish or attempt to question

the authenticity of the dance.

It’s just a soul dance

between two souls

that transcends time,

which travels alongside them,

and space,

in which their Self resides.

It’s an experience unique to the two souls

which engage in it.

Last thing I will say about it,

is that the dance between two souls

can only happen if the two souls

are able to recognize one another

from a time prior to the lifetime

their current Self is in,

and engage in the soul dance courageously.

And that, ladies and gentlemen,

is the true magic of IT.

The memory

of dinner at that ‘authentic’ Thai restaurant

on Bloor street,

reminds me that

another soul recognized ‘my’ soul’s experience.

And in that moment of,

and in each moment of recalling that memory,

the warmth of my Self’s smile

reaches my soul,

and that soul dance is recalled,

not as a memory,

but an experience

whose energy ‘my’ soul will

forever carry with it.

Dance well, soul beings.

Love, T.


Can we talk about something else…please?!

I must admit – there is nothing like having a day to yourself to do whatever it is you want to do. Currently I am sitting in my living room/studio space, sipping on some hot chocolate (made with almond and coconut ‘milk’), enjoying the view of the lake. And I think to my Self *in Louis Armstrong voice* what a wonderful day!

I reflect on the current state of my life and I can honestly say that I am happy. Of course my life is not perfect, and there are things that I am working towards making better, but I feel good about who I am and how I’m living.

There is no shame in that, is there?

For me, there isn’t. For some looking in, I – a woman in her early thirties who lives on her own, has a full-time job, writes and performs poetry, paints, has obtained two degrees, a woman who is LIVING her own life – I have not achieved the two most important (according to THEM) things in any woman’s life. That is I am not married and I do not have any children…yet.

In recent months, the unnecessary conversation with those who ‘know’ me, usually goes something like this:

THEM: “So T, what’s new?”

ME: “Not much, I’m just working and focusing on my paintings right now. I really want to complete enough work to exhibit.”

THEM: “Oh that’s nice. So do you have anyone in your life?”

ME: “I have lots of people in my life.”

THEM: “Well no, do you have that ONE person in your life? You know, it’s time to think about getting married and having children.”

ME: “Um…no I do not.” (And even if I did, I probably wouldn’t tell YOU. That is what I think, not say.)

THEM: “Well you’re young, you have time.” (Voice full of pity.)

END CONVERSATION.

Now there will be a different interpretation of that exchange depending on who is participating, experiencing or witnessing it. But as the person on the receiving end of the unwanted exchange, I’d like to share how I feel about it.

NOTE: If you are reading this, and you fall into the group of ‘THEM’, I do not hate you. Thank you for reading and learning about MY point of view.

We, as women, are taught by society, culture and family, to look for stability and that the most stable thing we can enter into with a man is marriage, especially if we follow that up by giving birth to other lovely human beings. I began questioning this a long time ago. Since when does a title guarantee stability? Who came up with this ‘idea’ centuries ago? Why do women have to be married and with children to be stable? (And who said that being married means that you will always be happy?) A committed relationship, is a committed relationship. A ring, or a big wedding marking this commitment will NOT make it BETTER. Yes, for those who have exchanged vows in front of their family and friends, have affirmed that it is special but their relationship did not necessarily change for the better. NOR DID GETTING MARRIED MAKE A WOMAN, A BETTER WOMAN (OR A MAN, A BETTER MAN).

Yes, there is value to the institution of marriage. But entering into a marriage or becoming a mother does not necessarily equate to stable and better.

I do NOT think that MY life’s value or my worth as a woman, is determined with/by entry into a marriage and/or motherhood. I am not for or against either. I just don’t want to be married to just anyone nor do I want to procreate with just anyone (or simply for the sake of getting married or procreating). I don’t think my life’s value is decreasing as I get older and am not married or a mother. Nor do I feel the pressure to follow societal, cultural or familial ‘norms’ in any way.

I do not feel self-pity for not being married. I am a complete person and I do live a fulfilling life, even ALONE.

Marriage or motherhood isn’t for everyone.  I am absolutely happy for those around me who are married and/or mothers. I think it’s lovely to experience that. Perhaps one day I will as well. But you better believe that I don’t spend my days imagining or thinking about it. Sure it has crossed my mind and I have spent time thinking about if I’d like to experience either, but at the end of the day, marriage and motherhood is about with WHOM you enter into marriage and create a life with. (At least to me it is.) And you better believe that I DO NOT have an age in my head that I need to ‘achieve’ this.

As individuals, we all have different concerns in life. Being married or having children is not one of mine, at least not at this moment in time.

I have a brain. Like an actual functioning brain. I am capable of thought, and I do exercise that capability. ON A DAILY BASIS. I reflect, I think, I analyse, I consider different ideas, view points, happenings, decisions, etc. As stated above, I have thought about marriage and motherhood but I really don’t feel ‘stuck’ there, in my thoughts. I have two science degrees and actually enjoy reading about physics, chemistry and the cosmos. I read a lot about psychology, physiology and development. Especially physiological development of a fetus…which is also something I had studied in university. I often ponder and am intrigued by the idea of energy. I READ. A LOT. OF REAL BOOKS. Perhaps not the same books you’ve read but I do read. I create. I cook. I exercise. I practice yoga.

So I CAN hold a conversation about things other than the weather….or marriage…or motherhood. Silence does not make me uncomfortable either. And I do know of many other young female professionals who will say the same thing.

There is NOTHING WRONG with discussing marriage or motherhood. At all. Ever. But I do think that there is a need to grasp the idea of other than, which can be considered for conversations, but also for grasping the greatness and capability of a woman. I think that everyone’s path in life is a choice. And just because someone’s choice doesn’t coincide with yours, does not mean that theirs is wrong or bad. It’s just different. I pass no judgement on those who are in a marriage and miserable or those who are miserable because they are not. Those are all individual choices and circumstances. Just because for centuries (and still!), women were placed in a box labeled “WOMAN” which only included the words “WIFE” and “MOTHER” in it, does NOT mean that that is all that a woman is capable of doing or thinking about, or that that IS her actual definition, OR that that is her only value on this planet.

So next time we talk, can we talk about something else…please??

T


Slow Dance

Nat King Cole’s voice, his music, his words, make my day better when I hear him. 

It makes sense it’s interwoven into a dream, right?

Dance well.

T

********

I want to slow dance
While Nat King Cole plays
In the background
With my best friend…
In our living room….
Amidst the chaos the day has left behind –
Toys, bibs, papers, – the results of lives
Our love has created.
I want to look into the eyes of my best friend
Before we embrace for our slow dance
And see his heart, his pain, his soul, his love….
I want to still see myself.
As he holds me close,
I want to rest my head on his shoulder
To take in his comforting familiar scent,
In gratitude,
And remember all that it took
For us,
To get to that present moment,
With the knowledge that it was all worth it.
I want to slow dance with my best friend…
Dance…
Slow…

 

Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gETTFM2PCYg


Heart Back!!!

February 16th, 2013 was one of the best days I’ve had personally, in maybe all of my adult life.

If you follow or read my blog at all, you may have read the poem I posted last, titled Frozen Heart. And as the title suggests, my heart was frozen. Well I actually not only froze it with the help of past hurts and disappointments, but I also buried it and hid it behind some super high walls. And on top of all that, not only were these walls high, but they were solid, very thick and backed up against one another like vertical layers. Simply not penetrable. It’s a sad existence of one’s heart, I admit, but I actually didn’t realize I had done all this! I mean I knew that I was guarded and all but I did not know the conditions in which I left my heart. *insert a few spoonfuls of Self forgiveness here*

Now my close friends know that I’ve been through a lot of personal growth and I’ve done A LOT of Self work in the last three and a half years. Trust me when I say, I’ve come a loooooong way! As we go through life, people will pass through, some will stay a little while and some will stay for a lifetime and this is true for me as well. The thing I’ve really focused on a lot in the last few years was my internal reaction to people who I have interacted with personally. I would be lying to say that I always followed my internal reactions to others – because let’s face it sometimes we think we know better than our instinct – but nevertheless it was there. In my opinion, it is important to isolate how another person makes us feel because it adds to the weight of our decisions that have to do with that person, but holding on to feelings/internal reactions that one person made you feel (be it negative or positive) and extrapolating it to another is bad. It is actually really bad to do that because we use our egos and not our head, for one; and two, we extrapolate our experiences with one individual to another but the two have no connection or similarity except for the capacity in which we’ve allowed them to be in our life. Which is why Self work is important – it helps us identify unhealthy behaviours which impact our relationships with others and with our own Self. So basically to make a long-story short, I did this. I know! I know! It’s not right and it’s ego based, it’s totally childish and not mindful at all, but I think when we get hurt really badly in a relationship, even once, it becomes almost a self-defence practice we do but it’s not conscious or deliberate. In my case I didn’t even know I did it until someone came along and ACTUALLY pointed it out to me. Okay, so maybe in my case it was a group effort…of different ways…at different times…but I finally got it, and that’s important! *insert extreme gratitude here*

Needless to say, when I finally understood the magnitude of my issue along with the issue itself, I got in a serious funk. I didn’t want to have a frozen heart – I knew it was damaged a little but it was a GOOD heart. Yes my heart experienced hurt in the past but it also experienced love and projected a lot of warmth towards others. And I came to a point in my life where I did NOT want to cast heavy shadows on my heart by walls built by past hurts, lies and disappointments which carried fears, insecurities and old ‘negative’ feelings. I just wanted more for my heart and for me. *insert start of ego death here*

So, back to February 16th, 2013… The last month was challenging for me because my walls had finally come down, the rubble was cleared and my heart started ‘thawing out’. (I must say, I have a couple of science degrees and as I read this I think that this is a great place for me to state that my actual, physical heart is at a normal basal body temperature and has been doing a great job at pumping blood through my body for the last thirty one years. I’ve taken very good care of it and continue to do so. Ok back to my other ‘heart’ now…) At first, I HATED the feelings that started to surface from the ‘thawing out’. I couldn’t believe that after doing ALL this Self work over these years, I had fears and insecurities that were completely irrational in the context of where I am in my life and the people who are in my life. I shed many tears, I had many serious conversations with my Self, I simply felt like all the personal growth I’ve gained was in vain…until that morning. The morning of the 16th I woke up and felt a warmth, a calmness, serenity and beauty within. And yes I cried again but these were tears of joy. I felt like I reached my bedrock of truth. It was the most beautiful feeling I’ve felt and I felt beautiful. I laid in my bed, staring up at the ceiling as I smiled inside and out and as I laid there I felt my heart. *insert a lotta Self love here*

I decided that I wanted to go to a hot yoga class in the afternoon. I went there knowing that it was going to be a completely different practice from the last three years I’ve practiced Bikram hot yoga. I positioned my mat and towel in the front row, directly in front of the mirrors. As with every class, you’re supposed to use the mirrors to help you get into your postures, which I did but I focused my gaze on looking directly into my own eyes. And I saw a woman I love, respect, admire, and LIKE! Looking into my own reflection, I felt like I FINALLY saw ME. It was powerful. Liberating. Humbling. Beautiful. It was during that yoga class that I realized I got my heart back. Sure it had some dents and small holes, there were few bits missing but it was warm, beautiful and it worked! It was all worth it. EVERYTHING. *insert reaffirmation of Self strength and Self Love here*

To some, this may have been waaay too much information, but  I shared all this to let you know that if I was able to, I KNOW that you can do it too. If your heart is hidden behind some thick walls and a little cold, go get it back. Give it a chance to love again. You owe that to yourself. Trust me when I tell you this – you are are so much more beautiful than you know.

Much Love,

T


It’s Different!

You ever wake up in the morning and suddenly your room seems different? Or you notice new things you’ve never noticed before as you’re travelling the same route you’ve been taking to work for years? It’s like, something’s changed….and you’re right! Something DID change-YOU! You chose different and as a result you became aware of things around you which you may have taken for granted or looked at only from a certain angle.

Well, that happened to me yesterday; rather I chose to look at my surroundings differently. Although I have not been attending hot yoga classes as often as I should, I had decided to go that afternoon with the will to make it a great class. As I walked to the studio I consciously chose to simply listen and follow the teacher’s instructions. Often, during the class, I allow my thoughts to follow the hodge podge of randomness that enters my head uncontrollably. Hence, on this day, I chose different.

I had a great class as the focused state of mind I forced myself into, allowed me to approach the poses differently and reach new depths. After the class I walked home via the same route I usually take. I stepped onto the street and started walking. It felt as if I was looking at my surroundings for the very first time.

I looked up at the large church on the corner and noticed the way that the sunlight was casting interesting shadows on it and how blue and clear the sky was as I looked up at it. It was beautiful.

As I walked past the church, I heard music coming from the restaurant across the street (which I also pass by frequently but never paid much attention to) and stopped for a few minutes to listen. It was lovely and I am sure it made for a lovely atmosphere for the people sitting at the restaurant’s patio, enjoying their meals.

On this same route, I pass a park. I noticed the people in it and how much they were enjoying it’s beauty. I saw a man playing his guitar; friends sitting on a bench and talking; people sitting on the ground observing and perhaps even meditating; people walking their pets through the park….all forms of life were in that park and it seemed as if it was a scene out of a movie but more perfect because it was real life and in front of me. Why haven’t I paid attention to all of this before? Why haven’t I sat in the park and been a part of it? Why do I always walk so fast and pay attention to me instead of my surroundings?

I reached the end of the park boundary, and caught scent of what I would describe as joy. It was a bush of the most amazingly fragrant, wonderfully scented lilacs (I think that’s what they are). I had walked passed it but the wonderful fragrance invited me to go back. And guess what? I wasn’t the only one! A gentleman did the exact same thing! He also passed the bush but turned and went back. We exchanged a few words and expressed how beautifully fragrant the flowers were. Although we only really stayed there for a few minutes, it was a very cool interaction. It may have been a small thing but it showed that sometimes looking at things outside of your comfort zone/repetitive doings, and choosing to look at things with a different point of view (or a ‘different set of eyes’), can make your world better than it already is and that we can find happiness and joy in the things which surround us.

If you decided to choose different, share your story!

T


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